PR and Press Releases in the Time of Coronavirus

Industry: Press Release Tips

(PRUnderground) March 24th, 2020

With coronavirus affecting every aspect of our lives personally and professionally, how should publicists and companies think about PR and press releases during these sensitive and uncertain times?

For one, PR professionals and online marketers are fortunate that all of us can do our job from anywhere with an internet connection, so marketers are still able to work. We are lucky. And when done right, a lot of positive PR can be accomplished even during this crisis.

Examples:

  • Chinese billionaire Jack Ma of Alibaba announced his foundation would donate 500,000 test kits and 1 million face masks to the US this week, at a time when the US desperately needs them. He is also donating across Europe and Africa
  • French perfume maker LVMH and distilleries in the U.S. are re-purposing factories and alcohol to make much-needed hand sanitizer.
  • Facebook is donating 720,000 masks to hospitals

Even smaller businesses can put out positive and helpful PR.

Ideas:

  • Is your business donating your product or service or time? Or giving away it for free right now? Or donating cash to a charity? Or needed supplies to a hospital?
  • Is your business staying open (even remotely, or to provide needed products or services during this crisis? (or even products or services that make full-time home life more pleasant or manageable?
  • Will your business be hiring? People are worried about their jobs so a positive announcement would be welcomed
  • Can you genuinely convey a message of community support or gratitude to your clients? If done right it could be an opportunity to build connection with your clients in a difficult time.

Press releases can also help get out neutral/unfortunate but important coronavirus-affected information

  • Cancelling an event? Moving it online?
  • Closing until a specific date?
  • Changing your hours of operation or ways to reach your company?

And remember, you can still publish your regular company/product/service announcements. It is actually helpful to all of us to see some businesses go on as they normally would since we are bombarded by mainstream media with coronavirus.

However, please refrain from any PR attempts to take advantage of this terrible situation. (unfortunately we have rejected dozens of attempts of this sort of PR in the last few weeks.)

  • Do not try to profit off of this disease
  • Do not try to push “treatments”
  • Do not try to “news jack” this disease (ex. add this trending keyword to your press release to try to get traffic) when it is not relevant.
  • Do not suggest conspiracy theories for why this outbreak happened
  • Do not blame 3rd party organizations, government, hospitals etc for this outbreak
  • Do not publish racist or xenophobic comments in your press release

Remember, people are dying, people are sick, people are scared. Keep your PR positive, charitable, practical, or neutral. If you have questions or comments on what would be acceptable, reach out to the team at PRunderground.com. Stay safe and healthy everyone.

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